Therefore, aerobic respiration only occurs when oxygen is present. The main food product that is utilized in this process is glucose. When glucose is oxidized, there is a production of energy, carbon dioxide, and water. The released energy is the form of Adenosine Tri-Phosphate (ATP). The process of aerobic respiration can be summarized using the equation C6H12O6 + 6O2 = 6CO2 + 6H2O + Energy (ATP) (Starr & McMillan 2012, p56). There are three main stages through which aerobic respiration takes place; Glycolysis, Krebs cycle, and the Electron Transport Chain.
This process of aerobic respiration occurs in cytosol part of the cell. During this process, glucose is oxidized partially and broken down into pyruvate, which is a 3 carbon molecule. Glycolysis produces 2 ATP molecules and 2 NADH molecules. Each NADH molecule is responsible for carrying 2 energy electrons, which are later used by the cell (Starr & McMillan 2012, p56).
This can be regarded as the second stage in aerobic respiration whereby the pyruvate molecule is processed to produce energy that is later stored between the bonds that hold the pyruvate molecule. The synthesized energy is released in the form of ATP (Starr & McMillan 2012, p.57).
This is the last stage in aerobic respiration. This process is responsible for releasing the energy synthesized during glycolysis and krebs cycle. The electron transport chain comprises of a network of electron carrying protein located on the inner membrane of the mitochondria. It is in this stage where electrons and protons are added to oxygen to produce water. Production of ATP occurs when protons move across the cell membrane, a process referred to as chemiosis (Starr & McMillan 2012, p57).
In times of strenuous exercises, there is consumption of high levels of energy, which implies that excess of ATP is needed. When there is insufficient oxygen the body respires